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Vatican Museums - Pius-Clementine Museum

Vatican Museums - Pius-Clementine Museum (72)

The entrance to the Pius-Clementine Museum is on the ground floor and reached by climbing the stairs to the Palace of Belvedere. The main feature of this museum is its great collection of classical sculptures. The two most significant are to be found in what is known as the Patio Octogonal, which was designed by Bramante.

In one of the corners of the patio is the “Belvedere Apollo”, a copy of an original Greek statue discovered in the late fifteenth century in the environs of San Pietro in Vincoli. It was Pope Julius II who decided to place it in the Vatican Museums, thus establishing the foundations for what would later become one of the world’s most important collections of art. 

Certainly the most striking work, however, is the “Laocoön”. Sculpted by three artists from Rhodes, it was known to exist thanks to the descriptions of Pliny the Elder. This sculpture group was found in Nero’s Domus Aurea in 1506, and greatly influenced the artists of this time, particularly Michelangelo. 

The work tells the story of the Trojan priest, Laocoön and his two sons. The story goes that Athena grew angry with them when they attempted to expose the ruse of the famous Trojan horse. As a punishment, she sent two enormous serpents to kill them. 

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